Three Things to Help Improve Your Writing
Carol: Even if you have been knocked off your feet, and away from your goals by laziness or flu or family worries or bad weather or other work or sadness or whatever, here’s the best bit of advice I can give you: you can start your goals anew each day. Every day. try again. Again. A baby step at a time. 250 words. 100 words. Even 50.
Just don’t give up. 50 words a day by the end of the year is about 16,000 words–half a mid grade novel. Or a LOT of picture books. Or a quarter of a YA.
You get the picture.
Wait? What? I’m the only one who’s behind?
I’ve always been fascinated with names and, as a kid, I wanted to know what my name meant. I looked it up, but all it said was “see Brent.” Brent? A boy’s name? And it meant “a fighter.” Oh, definitely a boy’s name! My only solace: my middle name was Virginia – clearly a girl’s name . . . and it meant “innocent.” So I was an innocent fighter.
When I was older I realized many names had both feminine and masculine versions. Too late — it was too ingrained that my name was not particularly feminine. I never did feel very “girly.”
How do you come up with names for your characters? Make them up? Pour through naming books or websites? Some awesome sites offer names, including international ones, give the meanings, sometimes even pronunciations, and which are “boys” names, which are “girls.” You can even find sites for the most popular names each year which go back many years. You’ll want to christen your characters with names evocative of your time period too, the ethnic background, and/or personality of your characters.
What names have you made up? Looked up? Used? Discarded? Why? And how do they feel about their names, their meanings, and the effects those have on their character?
Stephen King says there are two readers that every writer needs to have. One is the person that is enthralled by every single thing you put on paper. The other is a person that is brutally honest no matter what.
Do you have your people?
If not, there’s no better time to start looking. Writers need readers. We need to trust someone enough to let them read our first drafts. We need deadlines, and we need someone to ask about how our writing is going.
And if you already have your people, ask if you can be a reader for someone you admire. This is what makes the writing community so amazing, and this is how to become a part of it. There’s no better time to start.